Do you believe that Chaucer thinks courtly love provides a useful set of rules and behaviors to guide man and women in their relationship?
By analyzing two of the major characters, Nicholas and Absalon, and their relative success in relationships, explain what you believe Chaucer is telling us about courtly love though this tale.
The Miller's tale story is about two characters that were pursuing the attention and affection of the beautiful Alison who was married to John the carpenter. These characters were Nicholas and Absalon. The character whose efforts proved triumphant in doing so was Nicholas. However, Absalon was the character that reminded faithful to the rules of courtly love and his attempts to wins over Alison accomplished nothing. Courtly love is a forbidden relationship and is characterized by five main attributes. It was believed that by following these guidelines, the man would win the affection of an unobtainable women and their adulterous relationship would begin. Both Nicholas and Absalon at times fulfilled each of the five character tics.
Nicholas in a way did fulfill this attribute of being an aristocrat to some degree. Noble lord and ladies practiced courtly love. Even though in the story the miller's tale it says, "His lodger a poor student"( pg 60). Nicholas was still a well educated young man. "Who made some studies in the arts, but all his fancy turned to astrology and geomancy,"( pg 60) This revealed that his family was not part of the lower class. The fact that he was getting an education proves that he was not underprivileged. When it came to being Ritualistic, Nicholas failed to fulfill this element. He did not exchange gifts or tokens of their affair. He did not try to wooo Alison by sing songs, performing sweet and loving favour and was not a gentleman. Instead Nicholas was very impolite "Students are sly and giving way to whim, he made a grab and caught her by the quim (pg 61). He was also ill-mannered. Alison confirmed...
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